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South Korean internet corporation NHN split due to growing rivalry of founders

August 9
6:36 AM 2013

Last July 30, Next Human Network (NHN), South Korea's biggest internet corporation with a market value of US$11.5 billion, suspended trading. The company decided to divide Naver, its search engine, and Hangame, its online gaming division, into two individual entities. The company would resume trading on August 29, which would mark the conclusion of a merger that changed the industry 13 years ago.

Naver took 70% of South Korea's search market while Hangame became the most popular game portal on the internet with over 20.9 million subscribers. NHN's revenue climbed by 23% and its profits rose by 32% in 2012. However, NHN said the company needed to split so that it could "strengthen core competitiveness of each business."

The increasing rivalry between the founders ended the merger and sparked another mobile market war. In 2007, Kim Bum-Soo quit as NHN's co-chief executive and founded Kakao. KakaoTalk enterprise, which became South Korea's no.1 mobile messenger, reported 100 million worldwide users in July. One year after the debut of Kakao, Kim-less NHN launched LINE, the company's mobile messenger. LINE became Japan's leading mobile messenger and doubled its competitor's global users.

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